ENGLAND has become the last nation in the UK to introduce charges for plastic bags, in a bid to protect wildlife and reduce littering on the streets.
From Monday October 5, shoppers at all big stores will be charged 5p for every bag provided at the tills – and it’s hoped most consumers will remember to bring their own.
It has been suggested that last year alone, 7.6 billion plastic bags were distributed by major supermarkets – the equivalent of 140 per person.
Many people disagree with the new enforcement and have claimed the charges are too complicated, and could lead to confusion and longer queues at the tills.
The government is also facing backlash from environmental campaigners, who say it is unfair that smaller shops have been exempted from the policy. Charging for a plastic bag only applies to retailers that employ more than 250 full-time workers.
Westminster hopes England’s plastic bag charge will see use fall by as much as 80 per cent in supermarkets, and 50 per cent elsewhere on the high street.
Spain decreed a tax be imposed on single-use plastic bags on May 1, 2011 at the charge of five cents per single-use plastic bag; then in 2012 and beyond, the tax was raised to 10 cents per bag.